First Thursdays

First Thursdays are supported in part by:


October Main Stage Performers

IU Theatre
IU Contemporary Dance
African American Dance Company
IU Ballet
Movement Cooperative

Acoustic Stage Performers

The October Acoustic Stage features an eclectic mix of dance and music, with performances by:

  • Still Kickin' Cloggers
  • Heritage Place Ladies of the Dance
  • Special Guest Percussionists presented by the African American Arts Institute
  • Singer/songwriter Grace Minnick
  • Camp Yes And
  • IU Breakdance Club

Humanities Salon

What are the Humanities? Are they the disciplines equipped to analyze and answer questions about human experience and the human condition, like history, world languages, and cultural studies? A set of methodologies for reaching answers about these questions? The study of the texts and works of art humans have produced over the millennia? What can the Humanities tell us about current trends and issues such as "Old Town Road," The Lion King, and avocado toast? 

Visit the Humanities Salon to converse with faculty from departments around campus and learn how different humanities disciplines answer these and other questions.  

While supplies last, guests who complete a Humanities Passport by visiting all seven booths in the Humanities Salon will receive a coupon for a free coffee and donut, courtesy of our friends at Hopscotch Coffee and Rainbow Bakery!

Central Eurasian Studies

Join the Association of Central Eurasian Students to learn about the peoples, cultures and languages of Central Eurasia. Learn about different Central Eurasian languages and their different alphabets, check out our collection of Central Asian hats and see if you can guess where they come from, and find out about the different courses offered by the Central Eurasian Studies Department.

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies will offer workshops and demonstrations of the remarkable diversity that is Brazilian music and dance. From internationally known styles like samba to local specialties like forró, Brazilian music has a rich heritage of European, indigenous, African, and, today, American influences. Come learn to dance samba, play the agogó, or practice the moves of Afro-Brazilian musical martial art capoeira.

Dhar India Studies

Stop by the Dhar India Studies booth to experience the art of henna, courtesy of department faculty members, and explore the many Indic languages of the Indian subontinent with buttons written in Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, and more.


Ever used a manual typewriter? When was the last time you sent a postcard?

The English Department invites you to do both as part of the "Letters Home" writing workshop. We'll provide the postcards, stamps, and typewriters. You supply the words!

Plus, you can take home a "pocket poem" typed out on one of the old typewriters, a Toni Morrison sticker, and a full list of our spring courses. 


French and Italian

Join the Department of French and Italian for hands-on activities as well as linguistic insights! We will replicate staples of Italian (tortellini) and French (croissants) cuisine through origami paper crafts, and we'll have coloring for participants to create their own versions of French and Italian masterpiece paintings. Our French linguistics scholars have prepared a guide to show similarities between English, French, and Italian, and our popular Trivia Wheel is back with prizes of stickers and cookies for those who know a thing or two about Italy and the francophone world.


To celebrate the upcoming Bicentennial, the History Department invites you test your IU knowledge with a trivia game about the History of IU. We'll also have a raffle with History Department T-shirts. Stop by and find out why History is "never present" but "always with us"!

History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine

History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine will illuminate the scientific contexts of popular novels and stories. We will illustrate Dr. Frankenstein's scientific background and the debates about dirt, germs, and bad air that informed Victorian novels. Visitors to our booth can test their knowledge of animal electricity, miasma and contagion and win prizes!


The Philosophy Club Presents: First Thursday Ethics Slam! The Ethics Slam is a team-based discussion activity where teams come together to discuss and present different viewpoints on contemporary ethical questions. Topics will be distributed at the start of the ethics slam, teams will have a chance to come together to form carefully constructed stances, and then the teams will come together for a public dialogue on the given topics. No philosophical background is needed, just come with a good appetite for dialogue!

Spanish and Portuguese

Wondering where proficiency in Spanish and Portuguese can take you? Stop by our booth and find out! We will have faculty, student reps, and study abroad advisors on hand to share pictures and testamonials, answer your questions, and help find the perfect program to ensure you graduate from IU ready for the global market. Test your knowledge of different dialects and your geography skills and win swag! Participate in our interactive global map and show where you've already used your language skills!

Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Stop by the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures tent to check out a cool 3D presentation about ancient Egypt, and learn about the countries, food, and culture in the Middle East. You can also taste delicious Arabic pastries and coffee! Plus, get your picture taken in an 'authentic' Arabic setting!

More On the Arts Plaza

Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design & Friends of Art Bookshop


Join Fashion Design students from the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design in creating your own unique, redesigned t-shirts using cutting, twisting, tying, knotting, braiding, weaving and pinning. Meet the student members of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) while you make and design your own button. Check out the Metals & Jewelry area's Mokume-Gane display -- a technique using digital technologies on an ancient Japanese lamination. Stop by the Friends of Art Bookshop to buy handmade goods created by IU Students, and learn about the upcoming Eskenazi School Open Studios event.

First Year Experience

First Year Experience Programs will be at the First Thursday creating a mosaic where students can write about who they are and their experience to demonstrate the range of people at IU. Get your ID scanned for a chance to win tickets to Trevor Noah! Hope to see you there!

University Archives & IU Bicentennial

Oral History Project

The Indiana University Bicentennial Oral History Project began in 2008 with volunteers from the Office of the President and Indiana University Archives interviewing alumni from IU Bloomington. The project was staffed through the Office of the Bicentennial in 2016 and expanded to interviewing alumni, faculty, and staff at all Indiana University campuses. The mission of this project is to capture the institutional history of IU that is not written solely from the perspective of administrators, with a focus on documenting underrepresented voices. Over 1,200 interviews have been collected university-wide, and those interviews are now being uploaded to and made available on a brand new website open to the public. Come explore the new website and listen to oral history clips during the First Thursday Festival!

Mathers Museum of World Cultures

Get ready for fall and come craft with the Mathers Museum! Celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and the exhibit, "Remembering the Ephemeral: The Ritual Architecture of Sukkot in Contemporary Life", the Mathers Museum of World Cultures will provide visitors with the opportunity to make their own citron ornament and yarn garland.

Eskenazi Museum of Art

We'll be sharing exciting news about the Eskenazi Museum of Art's reopening, art therapy and volunteer opportunities both before and after reopening, and have a fun art-making activity for guests to enjoy!

Center of Excellence for Women & Technology

The IU Center of Excellence for Women & Technology is the nation’s first and only large-scale interdisciplinary, university-based initiative to encourage and promote the participation, empowerment, and achievement of women students, faculty, staff, and alumnae in technology. Come join us for some hands on, interactive technology including 3D printing pens, interactive robots, and watch our 3D printer in action! We would also love to talk to you about the opportunities and programming we provide.

IU Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance

Big Fish Preview

On the festival mainstage, join us for a preview of IU Theatre & Dance's upcoming production of Big Fish the Musical based on the acclaimed novel and film.

Edward's incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him, but his son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father's epic tales. Based on the beloved novel by Daniel Wallace, Big Fish the musical celebrates the extraordinary in everyday life.

IU Cinema

Visit the IU Cinema to discover the many transformative cinematic experiences that await you during the fall 2019 semester. Pick up a fall program booklet, get information about volunteering opportunities, test your knowledge with trivia, and more! And don't forget to stop by the IU Cinema to check out our free event: My Annie Hall at 7 PM.

Grunwald Gallery of Art


The Grunwald Gallery in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architectue + Design presents exhibitions and programs that engage scholars, students and the general public in themes related to contemporary art. Frequently collaborating with practitioners in the arts, sciences and humanities, the gallery produces exhibits that interpret visual art in a broader interdisciplinary context.

The Gallery's current exhbitions include "Rough and Unequal" a film by Kevin Jerome Everson and "Every Breath We Drew", by Jess Dugan. On exhibit August 6th-October 4th.

African American Arts Institute

Bootsy Collins is coming to IU to host Potpourri of the Arts on November 9! Who's Bootsy Collins!? Only one of the most legendary musicians to ever live! Bootsy rose to fame as James Brown's bassist, is a member of the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, and is recognized as a pioneer of funk music. And he's coming to IU! Visit the African American Arts Institute's booth at First Thursdays for a funky experience: dress up in some Bootsy-inspired sparkly swag, take a photo to be added to our collage, and be entered to win a ticket to see the legend himself in concert at the Potpourri of the Arts on November 9 at the IU Auditorium. 

Lilly Library

This October, celebrate science and science fiction at the Lilly Library! We will be showcasing some truly stellar books on astronomy, biology, medicine, and more--as well as fantastic fictional voyages to the moon, aliens, and weird science fiction pulps. As always, the Lilly Library is a relaxing center during First Thursday to explore, discuss, discover, and let your book nerd flag fly high!

Collins Arts Council

The Collins LLC is bringing back black out poetry! Come use old books and try to create unique poems using sharpies and selective word usage. Along with this, we will have a fun interactive art project. If you want to relieve some stress, come throw some darts at paint balloons for our collaborative splatter painting!

IU Corps

Due to the high food insecurity in our community's elderly and disabled populations, IU Corps will continue creating placemats that will be delivered to in-home nutrition program recipients alongside their meals during the holiday season. Using pre-made printmaking blocks, students and community members will stamp and customize these placemats which will later be laminated by the IU Corps staff. The result will be unique placemats to brighten someone's day!

Indiana University Press

Indiana University Press is celebrating its 70th anniversary this school year! We’re celebrating in many ways, including a fantastic sale of our awesome books at First Thursday! Stop by our booth to check our great reads. While you’re there, learn more about what we’ve been up to for the past seven decades--prize-winning books, distinguished scholarship, and so many famous and influential authors! 

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society & Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities

History Harvest

IUB's History Harvest will serve local Indiana communities as we explore how we express our identities through meaningful objects. Our local History Harvest is one of many “open, digital archives of historical artifacts" across the United States that support local communities who want to “collect, preserve, and share" the histories that matter most to them. This digital-archive model helps preserve personal objects that belong with their contributor but have value in the historical record. It also breaks down perceived barriers between scholarly researchers and community members in service of building archives that are meaningful to, and usable by, communities involved in the project. The Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) and the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities (IDAH) have partnered on this inaugural exploration of what it means to be a Hoosier.

Visitors to the First Thursday History Harvest will get hands-on experience with archive building and the individual stories that help make history. Community members can contribute an item that means something to them--an object, a memory, even a tattoo!—and the History Harvest team will walk them through the process of digitizing their objects and telling their story. Each contribution will become part of a digital collection of items that will help tell the story of IUB, Indiana, and the Midwest from many different perspectives. Visitors to the History Harvest Spring Exhibition in Wells Library will be able to explore a selection of the objects and see IUB’s story unfold.

Camp Yes And

Improv is theater that is co-created during the moment of performance. Improv isn't about being funny. It's about connecting, communicating, and collaborating. We'll have a variety of improv games for you to enjoy. Plus, and you'll get a taste of what's coming up at The B-Town Improv Hoedown, Bloomington's first improv festival, which benefits IU's Camp Yes And, a free summer camp for youth with autism and teachers.

Hamilton Lugar School LLC

The HLS LLC Student Leadership Advisory Board will offer trivia questions at the October table. Questions will be asked verbally, and will mostly relate to the LLC's 2019-2020 theme, "The City". Visitors who engage with this activity will have the chance to challenge themselves and test their knowledge of cities around the world. Participants will leave the table with seasonally festive candy as a thank-you for their time!

Indiana Geological and Water Survey

How do we know what Earth looked like millions of years ago? Explore fossil evidence from the Indiana Geological and Water Survey Education Collection and create your own scientific illustration.

Indiana Review

Indiana Review will be playing Literary Pictionary! We'll have famous books and literary quotes for you to draw and/or guess. Play for candy, play for lit cred. We'll also be selling issues of IR at discounted prices.

Integrated Program in the Environment

The IU Integrated Program in the Environment presents: Research is a human endeavor!

Explore the methods researchers from the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the School of Public Health use to determine what's in the air we breathe. What can you tell about quail using your observation and inference skills? What questions can you ask and how can you find out the answers? What are the limits to your question, observation, and inference skills? Interested in an environmental IU program or career? We can help.

Kelley School of Business Common Read Program

How will you use your education to make a difference? The Kelley School of Business, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Council, invites you to share how you are using your education (or how you will use your education) to make a positive difference through an interactive banner display. Learn more about upcoming events featuring a variety of panelists from the university.

Office of International Services

Stop by the Office of International Services booth to test your knowledge on countries and their flags for your chance to win an OIS brandana. How many flags can you correctly match to their countries?

Office of Overseas Experiences

Overseas study is one of the most effective experiences students can have to experience arts and humanities on a global scale, to broaden their intercultural awareness, to learn about a specific country/region, to acquire language skills, and to strengthen a range of personal skills. Start your study abroad journey by stopping by Overseas Study's table for more info and a study abroad photo trivia game - be inspired by all the places Hoosiers can go!

Summer Language Workshop & Language Flagships

Come visit the Summer Language Workshop and the Language Flagships to learn about language learning opportunities at IU and have your name written in a foreign language.

Wylie House Museum

Historic Wylie House Museum and the IU Libraries' Preservation Lab present hands-on 19th century letter writing activities. Grab some ink, a dip pen, practice your penmanship, letter-lock it and seal it up with wax. Examples of original 19th century writings from the Wylie family archives will be on exhibit as well.


This year, TEDxIU is hosting a conference with the theme of Entropy. Entropy is a descent from order into chaos, and to represent that change, we will have a giant Jenga set that visitors can play with. On each Jenga piece, there will be an Entropy-themed question to spur discussion between visitors.

University Players

University Players is the only on campus undergraduate run theatre organization. Our mission is to provide a way for students of all studies to create and experience theatre. We have opportunities and events all throughout the year! Come out and learn more about our organization through UP Trivia that could win you a free tank top of UP Past!

Gallery Walk

Gallery Walk will have fall themed activities. One will be to create Day of the Dead masks from a template we will provide, and the other will be to decorate miniature pumpkins with colored Sharpie markers, stickers, pipe-cleaners and felt. Also, back by popular demand, we'll have sidewalk chalk for guests to add their own personal decorative touches to the Arts Plaza. 

WildCare Inc.

WildCare Inc. is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation and education facility. Our non-releasable education animals serve as ambassadors for their species. Our table will feature four wildlife ambassadors, including an opossum, snake, wood duck, and falcon. Come learn about Indiana's native wildlife!

Festival Sponsor Booths

Hard Truth Hills

Join the Hard Truth Hills Crew for a fun game of ringtoss! Prizes include stickers, candy, and more. While you play you'll learn all about the myriad of incredible experiences Hard Truth Hills has to offer.

Upland Brewing Company

The History of Indiana Beer through the story of Champagne Velvet, a pre-prohibition pilsener. Learn about the rise, fall, and resurgence of this Hoosier classic originally brewed in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1902 by Walter Bruhn. Upland recreated the recipe in 2013 using hand-written notes from the original brewer.

Post-Festival Events

IU Cinema: My Annie Hall

7:00pm. Free, but ticketed.

Directors Ellie Sachs and Matt Starr are scheduled to be present.

What began as a grass roots, interpretive film class at a Manhattan senior community center, soon blossomed into a shortened spin on New York’s story of love and the passing of time, Annie Hall. The film stars Harry Miller and Shula Chernick, two seniors from the center and is deeply rooted in the original, serving as a reflection for the unique cast. Created by artists and filmmakers, Ellie Sachs and IU Alumnus Matt Starr, the project was a way to engage seniors and a meaningful way, while exercising memory skills. The two hope to replicate this project across the country. The 25-minute film screening will be followed by an extended on stage conversation. The screening is sponsored by the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design and IU Cinema.

Info & Tickets

Kelley Common Read Panel: The Value of Education

8:00pm. Woodburn Hall 120. Free.

"What Does It Mean to Be Educated?": A panel discussion exploring the opportunities, value, and impact of education. Panel to feature faculty and students from multiple fields of study. Open to all IU faculty, staff and students. Hosted by the Kelley School of Business and the IU Arts & Humanities Council. Panelists include: Ed Comentale (Arts & Humanities Council), Kelly Eskew (Kelley School of Business), Sarah Hurwitz (School of Education), Kim Torpoco (College of Arts + Sciences), Josh Perry (Kelley School of Business, Moderator).

More Info

An Evening With Terrance Hayes

7:00pm. Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Free, but ticketed.

Terrance Hayes is one of the essential poets writing in the U.S. today. Combining dazzling wordplay with emotional directness, Hayes’ poetry always honors the power of form to shape expression, while being equally conscious of the need to break through form whenever necessary: his most recent collection, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin(2018), is a stunning example. His recent hybrid critical work, To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight (2018), is another. Combining memoir, literary analysis, and biography, and interspersed with compelling drawings, To Float in the Space Between is like nothing else. “I’m chasing a language that can be unburdened by people’s expectations,” he has said. “Language is always burdened by thought. I’m just trying to get it so it can be like feeling.”

Hayes is recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and a Whiting Writers’ Award. His work has also been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Lighthead (2010) won the National Book Award, and both How to Be Drawn (2015) and American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassinwere finalists for that same award.

Hayes will appear as a CAHI Distinguished Speaker and as the 2019 Susan D. Gubar Lecture. 

Info & Tickets

IU Theatre: By the Bog of Cats

7:30 pm, Wells-Metz Theatre. Ticketed.

Written by Marina Carr, directed by Ansley Valentine, and loosely based on Euripides' tragedy Medea, this provocative drama set on the bleak ghostly landscape of the Bog of Cats discloses one woman's courageous attempts to pay claim to that which is hers, as her world is torn in two. Hester Swane, an Irish Traveler, attempts to come to terms with a lifetime of abandonment in a  furious uncompromising tale of greed and betrayal, memory and self-sacrifice. 

Info & Tickets


IU Dining will offer a tasty menu of festival foods, complemented by ice cream from Chocolate Moose and other delectables from local food trucks. 

Gloria's Breakfast Menu

  • Chilaquiles - $6
    • Tortilla chips, choice of salsa, quesco fresco, cilantro, avocado, onion, egg.
  • Sunrise Avo Toast - $7
    • Fresh avocado, sunflower seeds, cilantro, egg, choice of salsa.
  • Foldie - $8
    • Quesadilla filled with hash browns, eggs, queso rico, choice of chorizo or bacon.
  • Say Cheese - $6
    • Melty grilled cheese with three cheeses and Mexican spices.
  • Brekkie - $7
    • Burrito filled with hash browns, eggs, and your choice of chorizo or bacon.
  • Level Up
    • Add: Avocado ($2), Salsa ($1), Extra Meat ($2), Egg ($1)
  • Sweets
    • Churro Waffle - $4

Stripes International Menu

  • Pork Belly Steam Bun - $6
    • Two Chinese bao buns filled with crispy pork belly, cucumber sauce, Tonkatsu sauce, and fried shallots.
  • Avocado Steam Bun - $6
    • Two Chinese bao buns filled with grilled avocado, chojang, and fried shallots.
  • Char Siu Chicken Bahn Mi - $7
    • Sandwich on French bread with pickled veggies, cucumbers, mayo, jalapeño, and grilled char siu chicken.
  • Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich - $8
    • Crispy chicken tossed in a spicy sauce, served with kimslaw charred scallion aioli on a sesame seed bun.
  • Butter Chicken Burrito - $7
    • Indian butter chicken and rice with cilantro wrapped into a burrito.
  • Kimslaw - $2
    • Coleslaw made with kimchi, napa cabbage, and vegetables.